A House committee on Wednesday approved a plan to create a uniform statewide drug take-back program that would be funded and operated by drug manufacturers. [Health News Illinois 2.10.2022]
The plan would require licensed manufacturers to create programs, independently or jointly with other manufacturers, by July 2023. Every program must include promotion, education and public outreach about the proper collection and management of covered drugs.
House sponsor Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, D-Glenview, told members of the House’s Prescription Drug Affordability & Accessibility Committee that the proposal builds on an existing take-back program in Illinois by shifting the cost onto manufacturers - as well as ensuring the program exists in more rural communities.
Alec Laird, vice president of government relations for the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, said the proposal includes collection take-back in rural areas that did not previously have access, as well as more collection points for retail, solid waste agencies, sheriff and police departments.
Gong-Gershowitz said the plan has been amended since first introduced in 2019, with changes bringing on board retail merchants, the Illinois Environmental Council and the broader environmental community.
PhRMA, which opposed the initial plan, filed as "no position" under the amended plan.
Rep. Deanne Mazzochi, R-Elmhurst, questioned why the plan does not go after distributors or the pharmacy benefit managers, rather than manufacturers. She also raised questions about the overall effectiveness of such programs.
“I'm not necessarily convinced that these take-back programs are accomplishing much of anything once you get beyond opioids and certain types of drugs that are scheduled drugs where you may actually be concerned about them getting into the wrong hands because they have addictive capabilities or have particular toxic activity or something along those,” she said.
Others raised concerns on how the plan will affect generic drugs. Ashlie Van Meter, senior director of state government affairs for the Association for Accessible Medicines, said they oppose the plan as written. The funding mechanism should be based upon a “reasonable market share” based on revenue within the state, Van Meter said.
“If it's the generics paying for most of this, it's going to increase the cost of drugs in Illinois,” Van Meter said. “It's going to potentially lead to lower availability to patients for medicines that they need at affordable prices.”
Gong-Gershowitz said a provision in the proposal states manufacturers may not charge an increase in the cost of covered drugs to recoup the costs of a drug take-back program, though Van Meter countered that such clauses have been overturned in other states as a violation of the Dormant Commerce Clause.